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Outcry over Baltimore’s secret aerial surveillance

Footage from aerial surveillance performed during a pilot project for the city of Baltimore has been used in at least two arrests, but the court documents in these cases do refer to the aerial surveillance, according to a story in the Baltimore Sun.


August 29, 2016
By Canadian Security

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The story states: “Ross McNutt, the owner of Persistent Surveillance Systems — the Ohio-based company that has spent 300 hours since January recording the city for police — said his analysts have provided “investigative briefs” in 102 cases, but it’s not clear how many of those resulted in arrests.”

In addition, NBC News reports that the public was unaware of the program, which has been going on for eight months. When the surveillance program became know, elected officials, defense lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union responded with outrage, the story says. The images are not sharp enough to make out details, but they have been used to link with street-level surveillance cameras to identify suspects, Baltimore officials say.

“Widespread surveillance violates every citizens’ right to privacy; the lack of disclosure about this practice and the video that has been captured further violates the rights of our clients who may have evidence supporting their innocence that is kept secret,” Paul DeWolfe, the Public Defender for Maryland said in a statement last week.

Read more from the Baltimore Sun here.
Read more from NBC News here.